Hot on the heels of last month's dazzling and infectious head-bopping anthem, "Secretive!," Australia's hottest new power duo, Ninajirachi and Kota Banks, are back with their latest offering, plucked straight out of the Sorting Hat.
Drawing inspiration from the world of Harry Potter, Nina and Kota's single, "Slytherin," off the forthcoming deluxe edition of last year's joint EP, True North, sees the pair swapping bright synths and bubblegum melodies for a bass heavy rap beat and reptilian flow.
The first time we've heard the word "slizzard" since Far East Movement first popularized the term in 2010, Kota takes the opportunity to flex her rap chops with a slew of x-rated bars and serpentine delivery that marries perfectly with Nina's aggressive over-the-top production. It's the kind of track you could envision people popping bottles of champagne while at a wild Comic Con after party.
"'Slytherin' is a track that we wrote at the same time as we were creating the original True North EP," Nina and Kota say of the track. "I think we were on the Pottermore website seeing which houses we would be if we were in Harry Potter — essentially super delirious at the studio. One thing led to another and 'Slytherin' was born!"
The two continue, "Kota already had the second verse written and brought it into work on. We wanted to make something really unique, push ourselves to the very edges of our sanity and see how that would translate as music. 'Opus' was our starting point playing with darker and more spoken lyrical content, but I feel like we took it to next level with this one. Our joint Instagram handle was actually originally '@dumbledoreisdaddy' as a subtle shout out to this song, so it's a special one in our catalogue."
Ahead of the release of "Slytherin,"PAPER decided to see how well the pair truly know one another with a little BFF quiz.
When and where did you first meet?
Ninajirachi: We were both signed to Nina Las Vegas' label in 2018 and after we'd been following each other online for a little while, NLV suggested we write some music together. We worked in Nina's home studio at her old house in Sydney, but Kota was really unwell and we didn't get much done. Our next session wasn't until early-mid 2019, but after that we really hit it off.
Kota Banks: Nina and I met in 2017 at my manager's studio to write some music. My impression of her was that she was so sweet. We ended up getting half way through a song and having to call it a day because I had really bad cramps. Then we randomly didn't see each other again for a year and a halfi-sh. I'd like to revisit that song now, it was probably fire.
What do you like most about working with one another?
Nina: There are sooooo many things to like. We work fast, we keep one another accountable and motivated, we push one another to do the most and make the music the best it can be, we love to try new things and most of all we literally have sooooooooo much fun together.
Kota: I lovvve working with Nina because she's as obsessed with the creative process as me. We will literally lose ourselves in the studio for hours in a world that we're making, and it feels like this time capsule where nothing else except the music and the energy exists. I find that a very special and unique trait of hers. She loves to experiment and break the rules, and her ideas are just naturally so cool and innovative. We balance each other out really nicely. When I'm pushing it too far she pulls me back and vice versa. And she loves a goss, so we talk about our lives for the first hour or two, and I've found that these discussions and the emotions we connect over always infiltrate the music.
When they aren't working on music, where can one most likely find the other?
Nina: Reading and writing poetry, doing a pilates class, enjoying her nonna's cooking.
Kota: Maybe watching a live music show, visiting her dogs Sky and Sophie and her cat Fina or eating brekky at one of her fav vegan cafes. Or like, maybe watering her plants and online shopping. The list continues.
If you had to describe the other with one song what would that be?
Kota: This is a really wild question. I think "Lemonade" by SOPHIE. Sweet, fun, unique, creative, effortless genius.
What's a song they wish they wrote?
Nina: "Kiss It Better" by Rihanna.
Kota: I'm going to say "Dirty Talk" by Wynter Gordon.
What artist has the other always dreamed of collabing with?
Nina: Cardi B.
Kota: Lady Gaga would be pretty up there for Miss Nina.
What's their go to karaoke song?
Nina: Anything off Teenage Dream by Katy Perry, probably "Teenage Dream" itself.
Kota: She loves anything ABBA!
What is their go-to studio snack?
Nina: Lindt dark chocolate 85% cocoa.
Kota: Dark chocolate! We're fiends, it's all we eat in the studio.
What's their biggest pet peeve?
Nina: Feet and paying for a bad haircut.
Kota: Nina is so chill and unpeevable, I actually don't know the answer to this. That's crazy because making these songs we literally lived in each other's pocket. I'll have to ask her.
What's the most random thing you know about the other?
Nina: She's Italian and doesn't like gnocchi.
Kota: Nina can touch her tongue with her nose. She also has a really great fly kick.
If you could steal one thing from the other's closet what would it be?
Nina: All of her thigh high heeled boots.
Kota: She is so stylish, she has all these really sick hoodies and big tees. I would steal them all and I often do.
What's something you wish they'd teach you how to do?
Nina: Speak French and Italian, but not really because that's a massive ask.
Kota: To play Pokemon!
Photography: Billy Zammit